Happy 12th Birthday, iBrattleboro

Twelve years ago, Lise and I flipped the proverbial switch and turned on iBrattleboro.com, a new type of web site. It used the world wide web to communicate hyper-locally, and gave everyone in town who cared to register a platform for sharing news, events, stories, and opinions of all things Brattleboro.

Since then, we’ve worked to keep things up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, even on holidays. That’s 4015 days without much of a break, something I’m not sure I would have agreed to up front had I known what was involved, but now I can’t really imagine things without it. That will come someday, but not now. Now we are twelve.

That’s 12 years of non-professional, un-edited, real-community local information. You’ve done a spectacular job.

Every week there are new local stories, photos, and events.

Every week we continue to add a number of new users. Thousands of people have registered to contribute something since the site began, and at almost any time of day 20-50 people are on the site using it. That adds up to tens of thousands of unique visitors each month, eager to see what’s going on in Brattleboro.

Our twitter feed is approaching 1,000 followers. The site is studied by both journalism and government students and professors, and has been imitated in other localities. Traditional news outlets follow the site to look for story ideas.

I’m surprised more local businesses don’t take advantage of advertising to this intensely-Brattleboro audience. I thought it would take 10 years to establish ourselves as a media outlet with excellent local reach. We don’t employ ad people to hound potential advertisers. Maybe some businesses only respond to calls from salespeople?

(Maybe people don’t know that they can have a small ad on the homepage of the site for a full week for $30?)

In any case, what we do here isn’t about money. It’s the DIY media aspect that powers us.

As I see it, the site is about news, information, civics, and community. It’s about asking and answering questions, and exploring options for how we govern and guide ourselves. It’s an historical record, telling a story of early 21st century life, shaped and colored in by hundreds of voices and perspectives, for future historians to stumble upon and explore.

It’s also whatever you, the reader and/or writer think it is. Perceptions matter.

For this 12th birthday, in lieu of or in addition to large cash gifts, perhaps you could tell us what you like about iBrattleboro.

Ready for another 4015 days? I’m going to take an hour or so off, then I should be ready…..

Happy 12th!

Comments | 11

  • Lisa and

    Lisa and Chris….congratulations on your first 12 years. Looking forward to your next 12 plus some. Its hard to imagine where we’d be without you and iBrattleboro.

    Thanks for a fun, educational, thought provoking, interesting, informative and addicting web site.

    You’re loved!

  • Happy Anniversary!

    In addition to all the news and information, I’ve made some good friends through iBrattleboro. I remember when it first started (I didn’t even have a computer then) and Lise and Chris weren’t famous. 🙂 Over the years there have been many joys and struggles, but iBratt goes on. Here’s to the next 12, and beyond. Cheers and thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do!

  • Happy, Happy Birthday,

    Happy, Happy Birthday, ibrattleboro!
    You’re officially a “pre -teen”
    What a wonderful addition you are to this town. The things I like about you? Hmmm..let’s see;

    Being able to find out about what’s going on in the town long before the papers or radio stations know.

    Engaging in thoughtful, intelligent conversations with all kinds of people.

    Engaging in heated and sometimes frustrating debate about our town and the powers that be.

    The side column about historical events that happened on a particular day.

    The Holiday animated calendar.

    The “Food Group” ( I wish more people participated in it!

    Knowing that there is a safe place to express opinions; feelings and arguments for or against something.

    I even enjoy my interactions with those people who annoy me.

    Thanks, Chris and Lise, for working so hard to provide a wonderful, fun and provocative site. Looking forward to the next 12!

  • Ouro-ibrattle-borous

    Not to dampen the mood at the party, but here’s a few things I DON’T like about iBrattleboro.

    Firstly, I’m against any media empire. I’ve seen Chris and Lise driving around in an automobile, and I’ve noticed them purchasing epicurean indulgences such as organic produce, and craft beers. The power from controlling a global megaphone aside, such blatant and conspicuous ostentation is frankly off-putting.

    Secondly, I don’t know what kind of sweetheart deal Chris was able to pull with the puppet publishers who pull the strings behind the scenes, but he is obviously getting paid by the word for Selectboard meeting reports. And seems to be bilking that for all it’s worth. Even Krugman has line limits, come-on Grotke what gives?

    Lastly, what get’s my goat the most is that this “web-site” drafts off our pervasive internet addiction. While at times there may be the semblance of interesting, important, controversial, timely, small niche, human curiosity type “stories”—I have no doubt that that content is a proxy for something far more insidious.

    So, yeah, guys, keep it up. But know the word is out, we’re on to you and your commun-gnostic scheme.

  • Introduced to iBrattleboro by your talk at Rotary years ago...

    And been hooked ever since!

    Especially enjoy the historical tidbits, fascinating.

  • thanks

    Thanks, Chris and Lise!

    And thanks to spinoza for making me laugh!

  • Echoing Through The Years

    I want to first echo what Chris said — iBrattleboro has been a labor of love that we’ve never regretted. Since people started using the site way back in ’03, it’s given me a chance to hear a lot of voices that would not otherwise reach me and that, in itself, is a great thing. It’s hard to make up your mind about an issue in a vacuum. I love knowing what other people are thinking — the discussions, jokes, serious essays, philosophical musings, and all the rest. It’s also nice to have a platform available when I have something of my own to impart. 😉

    Recently, I was reminded of another reason to like iBrattleboro — historical preservation. In the last few years, both C and I have been doing a lot of historical research and one great source is old newspapers. One of the great things about old newspapers is that they preserve a lot of things deemed too trivial to find their way into serious works of history or biography. All that low brow pop culture, fashion, social and celebrity news, events (social, cultural, political, weather…), styles of speech, colorful people, trends… You can learn a lot about an era by reading its newspapers.

    I’ve always felt that iBrattleboro has some elements of the old-style local newspaper where the voice seems decidedly of the people and no news is too minor to report. Since iBrattleboro is archived, it’s possible that historians of the future will be able to glean details from our pages that will help them get a truer picture of who we are today.

    Thanks, all, for being part of the chronicling of our times…

  • A living document

    I have no memory of my first awareness of iBrattleboro, but I can say that as a writer usually submitting under word-count guidelines, it was the idea of author owned with the freedom to writer as little or as much as I wanted that appealed to me. There’s a lot to be said for the dynamics of each contributor’s story and comments that make it almost a living document. I know that’s not unique but there’s something different about iBrattleboro.

  • 4015?

    According to my math, 365 x 12 = 4,380 plus three leap-year days (2004, 2008 and 2012) = 4,383 days. Happy 12th Birthday, anyway!

    • Many days

      That’s what I had at first, but I realized we are starting our 12th year, so it’s 11 full years. I forgot to add the leap years in, though. Thanks!

      One thing I like about iBrattleboro is smart people making corrections when necessary. : )

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